WELLINGTON — A record number of migrants settled in New Zealand last year as more New Zealanders returned from Australia and rising numbers arrived from Asia, the government statistics agency said Monday.

New Zealand had a net gain — more arrivals than departures — of 5,500 migrants in December, down from the record high of 6,200 in November, according to Statistics New Zealand.

New Zealand’s annual net gain of migrants set records for the last 17 months, with 64,900 in 2015.

It resulted from a record 121,900 migrant arrivals and 57,000 migrant departures, said a statement from the agency.

Of the migrant arrivals in 2015, 25,300 were from Australia, with almost two-thirds being New Zealand citizens.

Around 14,500 were from India, with three-quarters having student visas, and 11,000 were from China, with almost half having student visas.

Around 13,400 came from the United Kingdom, with almost half having work visas.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Graeme Wheeler said last week that continued strong net migration, along with tourism, would help raise New Zealand’s slowing economic growth this year. PNA/Xinhua/